Lydia Koidula

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Koidula, Lydia


(pseudonym of Lydia Emilie Florentine Jannsen). Born Dec. 12 (24), 1843, in Vandra, in present-day Pärnu Raion; died July 30 (Aug. 11), 1886, in Kronstadt. Estonian poet and playwright.

Koidula’s work was first published in 1863. She is known in the history of Estonian literature as a lyric poet and the author of the collections of poems Field Flowers (1866) and The Emajögi Nightingale (1867). Her work reached its prime in the atmosphere of the national movement of the 1860’s through 1880’s. Koidula’s romantic poetry is an impassioned expression of love for the homeland and for her people, who were enslaved by Baltic barons. She sought to awaken in her people a national consciousness, the will to struggle, and faith in the future. She advocated the unity of the Estonian people, but she failed to see that social contradictions were developing. Many of Koidula’s poems became popular songs. She laid the foundation for the national drama with her plays The Cousin From Saaremaa (1870) and Such a Mulk, or a Hundred Pura of Salt (1872). Koidula’s works influenced the development of Estonian literature. The Koidula House-Museum was opened in Pärnu in 1945. In 1946 her remains were transferred to Tallinn.


Kogutud luuletused. Tartu, 1925.
Teosed, vols. 1–2. Tallinn, 1957.
Luuletused. Tallinn, 1969.
In Russian translation: Stikhi. Moscow, 1945.
Izbrannoe. Tallinn, 1950.
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1961.


Vinkel’, A. “O zhiznennom i tvorcheskom puti Lidii Koidula.” In the collection Ob estonskoi literature. Tallinn, 1956.
Sööt, B. Lydia Koidula. Tallinn, 1961.
Pöldmäe, R. Koidula teater. Tallinn, 1963.
Mihcla, K. Lydia Koidula elu ja looming. Tallinn, 1965.
Eesti kirjanduse ajalugu, vol. 2. Tallinn, 1966. Pages 249–96.
Laidvee, H. Lydia Koidula, bibliografia, 1861–1966. Tallinn, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Lydia Koidula nimeline kolhoos ~ Koidula kolhoos 'Lydia Koidula ~ Koidula kolkhoz' (PNA), Koidula talu 'Koidula farm' (PNR) (Kos) < Lydia Koidula, Estonian author, and leading poet of the National Movement (see also EKNR 2016 : 222).
David 2011 : 225) that as commemorative names tend to be rather lengthy they often develop shortened vernacular forms: Lauristini kolhoos 'Lauristin kolkhoz' instead of Johannes Lauristini nimeline kolhoos 'Kolkhoz named after Johannes Lauristin', Koidula kolhoos 'Koidula kolkhoz' instead of Lydia Koidula nimeline kolhoos 'Kolkhoz named after Lydia Koidula' etc.
Only two Estonian songs appear in the songbook, Mu isamaa on minu arm (My fatherland is my love), and Sind surmani (Until I die), composed by Aleksander Kunileid (1845-1875) to poems by Estonian poet, Lydia Koidula (1843-1886).
Nonetheless, at that celebration, folk and choral songs by Estonian composers were sung as well, including the premiere performance of the patriotic song Mu isamaa on minu arm (My fatherland is my love), composed by Gustav Ernesaks (1908-1993) to the same poem by Lydia Koidula (1843-1886) that was first set to music by Aleksander Kunileid in 1869.
Let us bring two examples, both from Lydia Koidula's collection of poetry Vainulilled [Meadow Flowers] (1866):
(10) Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald, Lydia Koidula and Juhan Liiv, on the one hand, and Gustav Suits, Villem Ridala and Henrik Visnapuu on the other hand.
Next, let us take a look at Lydia Koidula's indices of quantity.
Hix) In few European nations has the awakening to a national conscience been so influenced by a woman poet as the Estonian awakening was by Lydia Koidula (1843-1886), the "Singer of the Dawn," whose poems, set to music, became immensely popular.
Hix) That exceptional woman, Lydia Koidula, also founded the Estonian professional theatre, by writing several plays.
Madli Puhvel's English-language biographical monograph on the nineteenth-century poet Lydia Koidula, Symbol of Dawn (Tartu University Press, 1993), is an excellent example not only of intensive and detailed archival work, but of the critical perspective on cultural mythmaking made possible by an emigre's insider-outsider position; it received a cautious though controversial acceptance among homeland critics and is now slowly gaining recognition among diaspora readers, including younger ones who would be unable to read an Estonian-language monograph.
Another series of myths about exile receives thorough examination in Madli Puhvel's 1993 monograph Symbol of Dawn, a life of the nineteenth-century poet Lydia Koidula (1843-86).